Wake Forest shelter is home for some victims

Posted April 21, 2011
Updated April 26, 2011

— Heritage High School in Wake Forest has become a place where about 130 people eat, rest and shower.

For Rosemary Gutierrez, it is where she goes to break down.

“When I go to the showers, I cry,” she said.

Gutierrez, her husband and three children are staying in the shelter, along with other residents whose homes suffered damage at the Stony Brook North mobile home park in Raleigh.

“It was raining hard and the sky turned black,” she said of Saturday's storm. 

A tornado tore the community apart Saturday, killing three children and leaving about half of the 200 mobile home units there uninhabitable. A fourth child died of her injuries days later.. 

Gutierrez  said she hides her uncertainty about the future and pain from her family.

“I don’t want them to see me crying because it is hard,” she said.

Gutierrez can apply for federal help, but many of her neighbors cannot because they are illegally in this country.

“We cannot provide monetary assistance,” FEMA spokesperson Dasha Castillo said.

Castillo said FEMA does work with other agencies that can help those in the country illegally. However, she said many illegal residents will not come forward for help for fear of being found out.

“We are not here to process anyone. We are here to help,” Castillo said.


stony brook Wake Forest shelter is home for some victims


Volunteer Rosalie Bocelli said illegal residents do not feel going back to Mexico is an option.

“There are a lot of killings and they are afraid to go back. It is worse than here,” Bocelli said.

The Heritage High shelter is closing after this weekend. The American Red Cross is working to make arrangements to get victims to another shelter. 


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  • Mark Hayes Apr 22, 2011

    1nclady Thanks for the info.

  • 1nclady Apr 22, 2011

    For those concerned about the growing problem of illegal immigration in North Carolina, here's a site you can view pending legislation. Please get involved and see these bills get to the floor.

  • Mark Hayes Apr 22, 2011

    By the number of comments made on this issue should tell that alot of us are aware of the immigration problem,and yes I did say problem,but those who are in power to act on this matter have turned away in fear of the controversy that they may encounter no other country would allow this illegal flow to continue,even the media has as little to say on this but will pursue other crimes with total confidence of no retaliation.

  • Sumo Vita Apr 22, 2011

    "redstarlean, many American citizens work for minimum wage. That "cheap" labor you refer to is a myth. H2A workers get paid more than minimum wage."

    Remember that H2A workers are still documented workers. As long as they're legally here, they have to be paid a fair wage. Once their temporary visas expire, however, they're at the mercy of their new employer.

    And it isn't just with bargaining power that the employers make a killing. They don't pay social security for undocumented workers, or insurance or benefits. When migrant workers working road construction get killed or maimed on the job, their employer conveniently "discovers" then that they're illegal and shrugs off any further responsibility. It's a profitable business model, and it isn't about to go away anytime soon.

  • ajfuddermukker Apr 22, 2011

    I just wonder exactly how much, if any, aid we as Americans would get from the Mexican government if we were to sneak in there, like a thief in the night?

    I bet we would either get no help or we would be taken to jail.

  • Sumo Vita Apr 22, 2011

    And I feel compelled to reiterate: The illegal immigration problem is primarily the fault of employers willing to circumvent the law to pay low wages. If you're serious about wanting to see this problem resolved, then advocate for stricter employment controls.

    Look around you - (illegal) migrant labor is being used for practically all construction, road repair, other subcontracted services requiring mininal skills and manual labor. Whose fault is this? Follow the money trail. Who's making a killing off these contracts? NOT the migrant workers. Whose political clout allow these legal loopholes to continue? NOT the migrant workers.

    Stop directing your ire at these hapless people that are only doing what any of you would do, if you wanted a better life for your family and this was the only way out. Target, instead, all these businessmen and the politicians they've being paying off for years to preserve the status quo.

  • Sumo Vita Apr 22, 2011

    "Why can't the illegals in this case come forward and request to file for citizenship? Surely someone can help them with that."

    Because legally, they CAN'T.

    Gone are the days when your parents and grandparents simply arrived at Ellis Island and applied for citizenship. If it were that simple, be assured that half of the entire planet would be applying to move here. These days however it's a long, drawn-out process that (1) gives a high priority to only the highly educated, and (2) even then takes 7+ years and thousands of dollars to accomplish.

    Even if a day laborer from Mexico had the means to hire lawyers to file for permanent residence on his behalf, they'd still need to provide labor certification that he wouldn't be taking jobs away from an American citizen in the process. So his application would be rejected at the initial stages.

    Temporary agricultural visas provide the ONLY legal means for migrant workers to enter the country today. Overstaying these is their only recourse.

  • Soleil Apr 22, 2011

    I feel bad when someone loses a loved one but good grief people, Get a clue. This is not about people here legally but about people who are violating America's laws by being here illegally.

    The illegals are here taking American jobs and when they have anchor babies, government entities are putting welfare dollars into the illegal's households even though you can't accurately track the amount of dollars going into that household to see if they qualify dollars-wise, because of the lack of social security numbers. Therefore, people who are working are also getting welfare. Even with that it is NOT OKAY for our government to put welfare dollars into the households of illegals who have anchor babies.

    It is NOT OKAY for illegals to use our hospitals and healthcare systems to have babies in America and to receive treatment rot themselves, while untraceable through lack of proper identification, when it comes time to pay the bill; but for American citizens to be sued for payment by the v

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Apr 22, 2011

    Why can't the illegals in this case come forward and request to file for citizenship?

    Surely someone can help them with that.

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Apr 22, 2011

    redstarlean, many American citizens work for minimum wage. That "cheap" labor you refer to is a myth. H2A workers get paid more than minimum wage.